The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute
225 South Street, Williamstown, MA, USA
www.clarkart.edu - (413) 458-2303
The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute Williamstown Reviews
Classic Art in the Berkshires Jan 31, 2013
After more than two years of passing billboards for the Clark Museum as I drove along the Mass Pike, I decided to make the trip to Williamstown, MA. Williamstown is in the northwest corner of the state close to both Vermont and New York. The drive from Boston was fairly easy until I exited the highway. The road to Williamstown winds through the Berkshires and, although the views are gorgeous, I was a little nervous in December with a coating of snow and slush. (And before anyone comments on female drivers – I was born and raised in Buffalo, NY home of the Blizzard of ’77 and known for snowy winters.)
At the time of my visit, the original museum building from 1995 was undergoing renovations with highlights of the collection being shown in the Manton Research Center. Limited to the highlights or not, I was very pleased with the selection of Impressionist paintings – my favorite – as well as portraits by John Singer Sargent and Thomas Gainsborough. A grand piano with an unbelievable variety of wood inlays and gold detail was breath-taking. If only I had something like that when I was taking lessons… I would have practiced every day.
Something I hadn’t seen before at a museum was the uCurate program. As part of Clark Remix, visitors could digitally curate their own exhibitions from items in the museum’s collection. One of these visitor submissions was turned into an actual exhibit. The “winner” was an 11-yr-old girl – Giselle Ciulla – from the downstate NY area. It was interesting, and in some cases surprising, to read why she picked the items that she did. Very astute thoughts behind her selections – I certainly wasn’t half as observant at that age!
While in many cases having a painting or sculpture almost to myself was nice, I’d recommend visiting in the warmer months and taking advantage of the many trails surrounding the museum and outdoor events.
Dining options – there was a limited selection of a la carte options available at the indoor Courtyard Coffee Cart during my visit. I didn’t purchase anything as I was heading to the Freight Yard Restaurant & Pub in nearby North Adams for lunch. According to the Clark website, there are two additional dining options – The Clark Café (indoor seating) and the Stone Hill Café (outdoor seating) – available during the summer months.
Museum store – there is also a small museum store. Books made up the majority of the items available with jewelry coming in second.
Admission - Free admission during winter months. Not sure what admission is at other times of the year. Don't think it's that expensive.
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!